Imágenes de páginas


of Jesus himself,

[Ess. XI. Son of man be lifted up, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life," he evidently alluded, first, to his crucifixion, and, secondly, to that salvation which is procured "through faith in his blood," see John iii, 14, 15; comp. xii, 32, 33; but there are two other passages, in his discourses, which state, in terms yet more significant and decisive, the Christian doctrine of atonement. The first is recorded in Matt. xx, 28, where we find Jesus presenting himself to his disciples as an example of disinterestedness and humility, and declaring that "the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and TO GIVE HIS LIFE A RANSOM FOR MANY:" comp. Mark x, 45. These remarkable expressions very simply, yet forcibly, convey the doctrine, that the death of Christ was to be sacrificial-that he was to give up his own life as a sacrifice, in order to ransom or redeem "many" from that eternal death to which they are exposed. And no less plain were the terms in which our Lord called the attention of his followers to the same doctrine, when, at his last paschal supper with them, he took bread and brake it, and said, "This is my body which is given for you," Luke xxii, 19; or, "which is broken for you," 1 Cor. xi, 24; and afterwards handed them the cup, saying, "Drink ye all of it; for this is my blood of the New Testament (or covenant) which is shed for many, for the remission of sins!" Matt. xxvi, 27, 28.

The mysteries of the kingdom of God, which were communicated to the apostles by their divine Master, "in darkness," they were to "speak in the light;" and that which they heard in the ear," they were to preach "upon the house tops:" Matt. x, 27. No wonder, therefore, that those letters to the churches, which were given forth by the apostles after Jesus had died, and at a period when so plenary an illumination had

Ess. XI.]

of the Apostle Peter,


been bestowed upon them through the outpouring of the Holy Ghost, should abound still more than the recorded discourses of our Lord himself, in the declarations of the doctrinal part of Christianity, and especially of the atoning virtue of the Redeemer's death.

[ocr errors]

Having premised this general remark, I may now offer to the reader's attention a selection of apostolic testimonies on this great subject. We may begin with Peter, who, in his first general Epistle, addresses the early Christian converts as persons who were elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience, and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ:" i, 2. This apostle was well aware of the divine efficacy of the sprinkling of that blood by faith on the heart. Accordingly, we soon afterwards find him exhorting his brethren, as follows: "Pass the time of your sojourning here in fear; forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; but with the PRECIOUS BLOOD OF CHRIST, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:" i, 17-19. In the two following passages, he incites the believers to a patient bearing of injury and persecution, by holding up to their view the highest of examples-by insisting, in strong terms, on the meritorious and vicarious sufferings of Christ himself. "For even hereunto were ye called; because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example that ye should follow his steps, who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth......who, his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sin, should live unto righteousness by whose stripes ye were healed:" ii, 21-24. Again-"For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing than for evil doing; for,


of the Apostle John,

[Ess. XI. Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for (or, instead of) the unjust,2 that he might bring us to God" iii, 17, 18.

The apostle John has written on this subject, in a manner equally explicit. After reciting the words of Caiaphas, "It is expedient for us that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not"-the apostle adds, "And this spake he not of himself: but being high-priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation; and not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad:" John xi, 50-52. In his first Epistle he says, "If we walk in the light, as he (God) is in the light.... the blood of Jesus Christ his son cleanseth us from allsin :" 1 John i, 7. Again-" These things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: and he is the propitiation (or atonement)3 for our sins,

2 díxans væèg ådíxwv—“the just instead of the unjust." The preposition veg has sometimes the force of ȧvri, signifying vice, loco; see Philem. 13; comp. Eurip. Alcestes, 705. That this is the sense of ùèg in this passage, is evinced by the evident antithesis between díxαios and ȧdízwv, and that particle, as applied to the vicarious sacrifice of Christ, may probably have the same meaning in Rom. v, 6, 8.

3 λaouds, propitiation or atonement. The meaning of this word is far too clear to be mistaken. Ivar, is to be kind or propitious; see Odyss. Hom. iii, 380. 'ANλà άvaoo' ïndi dé μo.—“But, O queen, be propitious to me. Ιλάσκειν active, and ἱλάσκεσθαι middle, is to propitiate, or make expiation for sin. So, in Heb. ii, 17, Jesus Christ is said ἱλάσκεσθαι τὰς ἁμαρτίας τοῦ λαοῦ to make reconciliation (or more properly to make an atonement) for the sins of the people." 'Iλaouds, the substantive derived from these verbs, is properly the act of propitiating; but more usually, the sin-offering or expiatory sacrifice by which propitiation is effected. Thus, in the Septuagint version of the Old Testament, it answers to the Hebrew words, DiN a trespassoffering, a sin-offering, an atonement: vide Trommii

Ess. XI.]

of the Apostle John,


and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world:" ii, 1, 2. Again-"In this was manifested the love of God towards us, because that God sent his only-begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love; not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation (or atonement) for our sins:" iv, 9, 10. The strength and cogency of these simple, yet full, declarations of Christian doctrine will be allowed by every candid inquirer after scriptural truth. So also, in the Revelation, the blood of Christ is repeatedly mentioned as that which redeems from the penalties, and cleanses from the guilt, of sin. "And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof, for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation ;" V, 9. "What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?.... These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God," &c. Rev. vii, 13-15; comp. i, 5.


[ocr errors]

In presenting to the reader the testimony of the apostle Paul to a doctrine which he evidently considered as the very basis of Christian truth, I shall, for the present make no citations from the Epistle to the Hebrews. The following passages, selected from

Conc. Schleusner's explanation of this substantive is quite in point: he says that it signifies, 1st. Propitiatio, expiatio, seu actio quá læsus et offensus placatur; and 2ndly, Id quod vim expiandi habet, is, qui expiat, sacrificium pro peccatis expiandis oblatum, victima expiatoria: vide lex. in voc. In Rom. iii, 25, the word denoting propitiation is iλaorýgion, which is best understood as an adjective, agreeing with Jõua or iɛgsïov (a sacrifice) understood; in which sense the word is used by Josephus, in Mac. 18; see Magee on Atonement, 3rd ed. i, 222.


of the Apostle Paul,

[Ess. XI. his other Epistles (in addition to Rom. iii, 23—26, already quoted) I consider to be of a very satisfactory and conclusive character. "When we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For, scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die but God commendeth his love towards us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more, then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him :" Rom. v, 6-9. "For I delivered unto you, first of all, that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures :" 1 Cor. xv, 3. "God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself,* not

4 The Greek verbs which express "reconciliation," are diaλλáoσeiv, καταλλάσσειν, ἀποκαταλλάσσειν, all of which signify generally, to change,-commutare, permutare; and thence, more particularly, to change enemies into friends; to reconcile and bring into a state of peace, parties previously hostile. When two parties, at variance with each other, are thus brought into a state of peace; if one is the offended, the other the offending, party, the expressions under consideration are applicable to either of them, and each may be properly said "to be reconciled"

(διαλλασσέσθαι, καταλλασσέσθαι) to the other. These verbs are ap

plied to the offended party in some passages of the Apocrypha, vide 2 Mac. i, 5; vii, 33; 1 Esdras iv, 31; in all which instances, "to be reconciled" signifies "to be appeased."

In other instances, however, "reconciliation" is predicated of the offending party, and imports "a restoration to favour :" vide Sept. Vers. of 1 Sam. xxix, 4. Καὶ ἐν τίνι διαλλαγήσεται οὗτος τῷ Κυρίῳ αὐτοῦ; "And how shall this man be reconciled to his master," or "restored to his master's favour ?” Matt. v, 24, πρῶτον διαλλάγηθι τῷ ἀδελφῷ σου, x. . . "If thy brother have ought against thee-first be reconciled unto thy brother," &c. On the same principle God is represented in 2 Cor. v, 19, as reconciling (xaraλλáoow) sinners to himself, “ not imputing their trespasses unto them;" and sinners are described as being reconciled to God, because they are brought into a condition of peace with him, and restored to his favour. So Schleusner in voc. xaraλλáoow, “Deus autem dicitur καταλλάσσειν ἀνθρώπους ἑαυτῷ, dum veniam peccatorum dat, et homines modum ac rationem consequendi favorem suum docet.

« AnteriorContinuar »